Driving full circle

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

Ecclesiastes 11:1

Last fall, in anticipation of the birth of our litter we had to upgrade from a seven passanger minivan to one that would hold all eight of us.

Instead of selling our previous minivan I engineered a trade—I gave our minivan to my parents (perfect for hauling grandkids around) in exchange for their Nissan Sentra which I gifted to my sister Eliza and her husband Paul. Basically the same sort of trickle-down people often practice with computers, but with cars instead.

Paul was finishing his final year at the University of Utah and working. Eliza was lucky enough to be able to be a stay-at-home mom with Peter. The car enabled her to have a lot more options during the day.

Fast forward to this winter. My commuter car began making knocking sounds. I took it in to Burt Bros. to have them check it out (since I'm not terribly mechanical). The verdict? A new engine (rough guess > ~$3,000) would be needed now or in the near future. They don't do that kind of work themselves but they could refer me to other shops that did. Or I could keep the oil up, cross my fingers, and keep driving it.

Not having an extra $3,000 on hand (and the car not even being worth quite that) I decided to just keep driving, cross my fingers and hope for the best...

The car survived precisely one more week. Seven days after I picked it up from Burt Bros. the engine seized up and died while I was headed southbound on I-15 going to work. By the time I had the car towed and could arrange for someone to pick me up and take me the rest of the way to work it was practically lunch time. Fun day. I'd hoped to eke out weeks (or even months) of life instead of just days. Oh well.

Luckily I'd been carpooling (though not the morning the car died) and had co-workers who could kindly help make sure I had a way to get to work each day so far this month.

Now, in the past year, Paul graduated and got accepted into a pharmacy graduate program (beginning next year) in Atlanta. Since they'll be moving and don't want to transport two cars the nearly 2,000 miles to Georgia they very graciously gave the Sentra back to me as a Christmas present. It's a huge relief to have a way to get work without having to assume the burden of a car payment. Thank you Eliza & Paul!

—Michael A. Cleverly

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